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A Final Farewell to Daniel K. Inouye

NEW YORK TIMES / MAY 14, 2009
Above: U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye in his office in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington. Inouye, who served in Washington since statehood in 1959, was an enormously popular figure in Hawaii and was widely respected by fellow lawmakers for his conscience and integrity.
Inouye's impact on isles was unmatched
Hawaii has lost a stalwart and distinguished champion among the political leaders of the nation with the death of U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, 88. It is difficult to overstate the impact Inouye has had on Hawaii's development and policy decisions, from statehood on through the decades. Story »
Daniel Ken Inouye, the grandson of Japanese immigrants, sacrificed his right arm for his country in combat during World War II and devoted much of his life as an unwavering voice for Hawaii in the U.S. Senate. Story »

Born in Honolulu on Sept. 7, 1924, at home on Queen Emma Street with the help of a midwife, Inouye grew up in McCully and Moiliili, which were then largely poor, working-class Japanese-American neighborhoods. Story »

<strong>INOUYE</strong> RELATED »
Inouye, a sergeant when the 442nd landed in Europe, was promoted to first lieutenant as the nisei moved through Italy, then France, then back to Italy in the waning days of the war. Story »

After the war, Hawaii was on the brink of social change. Japanese-Americans were a third of the state's population, and the nisei veterans soon realized their political potential. Story »

Prophetically, given Inouye's eventual mastery of Senate rules, his first speech in the Senate was to save the filibuster. The same Southern Democrats who had been suspicious of statehood had used the filibuster — a unique procedural tool — to stall new civil-rights laws. Story »

Inouye had a reputation in the Senate for integrity and intelligence, and he was picked by Mansfield, over his initial objection, as one of seven senators to serve on a select committee to investigate the Watergate scandal that engulfed the Nixon administration in the early 1970s. Story »

Inouye's national prominence seemed to peak in the 1970s and 1980s. His name had surfaced as a possible vice presidential contender, but he would always dismiss any aspirations beyond the Senate, where he had friends and power. Story »

<strong>INOUYE</strong> QUOTES »

I went up to the cemetery at Punchbowl and walked alone among the graves of the good men with whom I had served. I wanted to assure them that I would not let them down, never dishonor the cause and the country for which they had given so much. I wanted to promise them that I was not going to Washington to represent the 442, or the nisei, or any other separate group. I was going to represent all the people of Hawaii and I asked God's help in this, the greatest undertaking of my life."

—1963, reflecting on winning the 1959 election as U.S. congressman for the new state of Hawaii. 

Rights guaranteed by the Constitution were sacrificed under the cloak of national security. This has been a common occurrence in the United States, and I think the time has come when we should put a stop to this. In the name of national security it has been fashionable to deny other Americans their constitutional rights."

—April 11, 1988, on reparations for the illegal internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II.

More quotes from U.S. Sen. Inouye »

<strong>INOUYE</strong> QUOTES »

Our country has lost a true American hero. … The second-longest-serving senator in the history of the chamber, Danny represented the people of Hawaii in Congress from the moment they joined the Union. In Washington he worked to strengthen our military, forge bipartisan consensus and hold those of us in government accountable to the people we were elected to serve. But it was his incredible bravery during World War II — including one heroic effort that cost him his arm but earned him the Medal of Honor — that made Danny not just a colleague and a mentor, but someone revered by all of us lucky enough to know him."

—President Barack Obama

We have lost a great hero and dedicated US SENATOR that represented the state of HAWAII for all these years! You have accomplished monumental tasks and created a better place for all to live in Hawaii and we cherish all the fond memories of your unselfish dedication and inspiration to everyone. With Deepest Sympathy and Condolences to the Inouye Family — Aloha and Mahalo!"

—Wesley Nakahara via Facebook

More tributes to U.S. Sen. Inouye »

<strong>INOUYE</strong> IN PHOTOS »
<strong>INOUYE</strong> ISSUU EDITION »
From his first days in the House after statehood to his last as one of the Senate's senior members, Inouye fought to make sure the islands were not shortchanged. Story »

<strong>INOUYE</strong> TIMELINE »

1899: Burdened with family debt, Asakichi Inouye and his wife, Moyo, agree to migrate from a village in Yokohama, Japan, to Hawaii as contract laborers and send money home to his parents. The Inouyes live at McBryde plantation in Wahiawa, Kauai, with their son Hyotaro. Hyotaro, who supported himself to receive a high school degree at age 25, worked as a file clerk for Theo H. Davies & Co. Ltd.

— THROUGH —

Dec. 17, 2012: Inouye dies at 5:01 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (12:01 p.m. Hawaii time) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, with wife Irene, son Ken and wife Jessica, and granddaughter Maggie, at his side. His last word is "aloha."

Read the complete timeline »

Inouye, by his own preference, rarely spoke on the Senate floor in his later years and often shunned the national news media. Some of his friends would say it was Japanese and Hawaii style to stay humble and avoid self-promotion, to get things done quietly. Story »

Had Shakespeare penned a drama of modern American politics, U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye would have played the deceptively quiet, but wise power broker — an owl amid the preening peacocks of Capitol Hill. Story »

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye earned a reputation for delivering big-budget projects to Hawaii, such as the H-3 freeway and major military facilities. But the impetus for many of the federally funded initiatives he shepherded through Congress grew out of his everyday interactions with constituents in the community. Story »

There was no greater friend and ally to Hawaii's considerable military might than U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, say those who knew and worked with him. Story »


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